It’s tough to know what it’s like to face intense questions about your maturity and attitude for months on end. Fighting back against the idea that you are too smart to do your job is surely annoying. Watching your draft position sink while the eyes of the world are on you can’t be great.
This is what happened to Josh Rosen, the most polished quarterback prospect on the board, before the Arizona Cardinals traded up to get him at No. 10. What he did next was understandable, but still regrettable.
Telling reporters that he was “pissed” and “really angry” about not going earlier is one thing. Having a healthy chip on one’s shoulder is practically a prerequisite for professional athletes and his honesty has been a refreshing change of pace, if only because it’s seemed to break the brains of simple-minded football types.
There’s a difference, however, in speaking about himself and his attitude versus denigrating his peers. Rosen went there.
“There were nine mistakes ahead of me,” he said.
We’ve all heard players talk about proving the teams that passed over them wrong. That’s a traditional grudge, so-much so that it’s become a cliché. Calling out peers is different.
That the intellectual Rosen would use these semantics is no accident. He must have meant to refer to Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, Sam Darnold, Denzel Ward, Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson, Josh Allen, Roquan Smith, and Mike McGlinchey as mistakes. It’s a bold strategy based on both pure odds. It’s also bold considering the fact many of those guys will make an immediate impact.
The great part about Rosen is that he doesn’t care what I think, you think, or anyone thinks. But looking at this comment with a sober mind, what’s the upside? Self-motivation? Sending a signal that he won’t be changing?
An argument could be made that the intense spotlight of scrutiny on the rookie is already so hot that a few extra degrees won’t matter. Rosen’s pre-draft approach is one thing, but once his name is called, his words take on a new meaning.
Perhaps he’ll look like a genius and outperform all those selected prior to him. If he doesn’t, this quote is going to hang out there for his career.
A Rosen move for sure. He just better hope he is the chosen one.